Chilli Crab

Chilli Crab, the iconic Singaporean dish and touted by the Singapore Tourism Board as one of Singapore’s National Dishes. There had been contention about the origins of this dish. Our neighbours up north claimed that Chilli Crab is theirs. The truth is…


Now, for a little Chilli Crab history. First off, Chilli Crab is truly Singaporean. It came about as an improvised dish by Mdm. Cher Yam Tian and her husband Mr. Lim Choo Ngee back in 1956, when Mdm. Cher used bottled chilli sauce instead of her usual tomato sauce when stir-frying mud crabs. This became a dish that they sold in a pushcart along the seaside. As business was good, they opened a restaurant called Palm Beach in 1962 banking on their “hit” dish. The legacy continues as Mr. Roland Lim continues to serve this tasty dish in his restaurant – Roland Restaurant. You can read more about this story here.

Eating out can be a really expensive affair. In an effort to save money, yet be able to enjoy this dish, I decided I shall learn to make this dish at home. This recipe calls for a freshly made chilli paste and the two all-important sauces that make it similar to Mdm. Cher’s original version – tomato and chilli sauce. It will take a little effort, BUT I tell you, it will be so worth it, cos cooking the dish at home cost a fraction of what you pay in the restaurants.

Let’s do a happy dance before we begin.

If the kitchen attempts fail, well, below are some of the restaurants I have enjoyed this beautiful dish at.

This recipe is made simple so that an amateur home cook like me can make it at home. I’ve done it, so can you! Until next time!



Chilli Crab


Prep time 15 min
Cook time 30 min
Yields 2 pax



Things you need



6 pieces Shallot
6 pieces Garlic
6 pieces Red chilli
3-8 pieces Chilli padi (Bird’s eye chilli)
6 tablespoons Oil
2 tablespoons Tomato sauce
5 tablespoons Chilli sauce
3 tablespoons Sugar
800 milliliters Chicken broth
2 Eggs
1 Mud Crab



Here’s how


    • Slice ginger, red chilli, chilli padi and lemongrass
    • Place all sliced items into the blender with peeled garlic and shallots
    • Blend till a fine consistency
  • Heat up a pan, add in oil and the blended chilli paste
  • Stir fry the chilli paste
  • Add in chilli sauce and tomato sauce. Stir to evenly combine them.
  • Add in chicken broth and sugar. Stir to even out everything and let it boil.
  • Add 1 whole chopped up crab. Cover and let simmer for 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Beat up and add in the eggs.
  • Serve



Helpful tips


  • Adjust the amount of chilli padi according to how much spice you want.

Regina is an actress, educator, writer and amateur home cook. Her friends think that she is not a bad home cook, her brothers on the other hand, think she is terrible. In her defence, growing up in a family of fantastic chefs, she had always left the cooking to them. Her mantra – they cook, she eats. She is FINALLY learning some of her family recipes and has not harmed anyone with her cooking thus far (fingers crossed.) Now, if she can cook, anyone can cook too!